Home – New Forums Logistics Questions on China importing

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #987522
    Redrum
    Member
    • Total posts: 10
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi, I have searched through this forum for a while now, and have been reading all I can on peoples experiences on importing from China, it took me a while to understand the language (I still dont know some of the terminology lol)

    I have been buying my products from a wholesaler in Australia, I have stumbled across their supplier in China and am planning on importing myself (To cut prices in half as well as have new products)

    I have a few questions for the experienced people:

    I have made contact via email with the China supplier, they have offered to do a small order of 75pcs via air freight using DHL, and requested the payment made by TT. They have even offered to inclue two free samples of another product as well in that package. They have charged me $205 air freight via DHL for 75 items which are the same size as a fluorescent light bulb (although not a light).

    This is considered a trial order to view quality of their product, and they will include 2 free samples of another product, via DHL they say it will take 3-5days, the order is considered “small” and im guessing since it is under the $1000 usd for customs.

    After confirming with them that this particular item is in stock ready to go and not needed to be manufactured, they asked me to forward my details in order to prepare a PI or Proforma invoice.

    This is my first time importing, I think I have done the hardest part which is finding a reliable supplier in China (Keep in mind the wholesaler I have in AU buys imports their stock from the same place)

    What procedure do I go through? Hand over my details and receive a proforma invoice? Which to my understanding is a piece of paper saying that I agree to the product quantity and price + shipping, what happens after that? I assume I will receive a commercial invoice once I agree to pay, and I pay after receiving a commercial invoice?

    Also another question, I looked into LCL and FCL, im confident in the procedure for my end of things (paperwork and declaration), for 20cbm they have charged me $625 sea freight. Not sure how good that is, I understand I will be paying for my goods (about $3000 fits in 20cbm), 5% or 10% duty, 10% gst. Are there any hidden costs? I added an extra $500 on top to cover the hidden costs, not sure what they are or what they will be, still learning and researching :) My products wont need to be fumigated, as nothing is wooden etc.

    The reason I ask about LCL and FCL is because it will work out alot cheaper, I would prefer FCL but my budget only allows LCL, I may be getting ahead of myself but I am confident, im one of those people when I start looking into something I have to finish it lol

    Sorry for the huge post, but I like to be as detailed and informative as possible, Thankyou very much, Ads.

    #1163146
    MH08
    Member
    • Total posts: 284
    Up
    0
    ::

    Would you like an honest answer?

    To become successful at importing goods you have to lose money. Counter-intuitive I know, heres the reason.

    There will be times they will send you an empty container (because they don’t know or care about you), to stop this you will have to pay customs officer in the country of origin to stand there and sight the container as they are filling it. It’s not cheap but you will know it will come to you. Customs officers – $2,500 to $5k per day.

    This method is only good for FCL 40″ containers, never allow them to use pallets. You will be paying for air, the heavier the better because more product, the trick is to cram everything you can in it.

    Always fill the container to the roof and acquire your own LOSCAM or CHEP pallets. Usually freight forwarders can pick and pack it for you.

    Right now LCL is the most riskiest and expensive method of importing, too many hands touch it and there’s a very good chance if it’s a product someone likes they will steal it from the container once it reaches the docks or other customers warehouses. Especially if they accidentally send it to the licences importer/distributor. I’ve seen this happen many times.

    The reason? The freight forwarding company tends to put your stuff in other peoples containers for LCL. Hits the ground and people walk inside it and take a look.

    FCL, the best method, I get the containers to come to our warehouse and customs come visit us to sight the container and cut it open. No hands, less expenses and we have the container with us (unopened).

    Maybe throw some cheap bikes, toilet paper, furniture and sell it off, fill it with what’s in demand to day so at least you make something out of it.

    Cheers bud, welcome to the importation world where it’s not cut throat, they cut you in half ;)

    #1163147
    Redrum
    Member
    • Total posts: 10
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thankyou for the input MH08. How do my prices sound and procedures? the 75pcs first, LCL later? I will need to start writing a huge plan on this, so nothing is left out and everything I learn is easy accessed.

    Wow so alot of stock disappears once it arrives at port?

    I understand FCL is definately the best method, although to fill a 20″ container would be a fair bit of money, but in the long run may be the safest option?

    With a FCL i would still need a customs officer to check it in China before it leaves wont I? I never thought of that, and never thought it would cost so much!

    Is it a common thing that the China manufacturer sends an empty container? So basically you lose your money you paid for the stock, as well as paying for the shipment etc?

    The China manufacturer is legitimate, as the wholesaler i get my products off uses them, but maybe because someone was checking it to make sure it was there lol.

    What method is safest? Ordering FCL and using a customs officer to check it before it leaves to make sure not empty? And then use a customs officer here to check again?

    Sorry for the questions, you have opened another door for me to look into lol. The manufacturer I chose specializes in a certain product, so putting other types of things may be out of the question unless i can find another supplier as well?

    I guess losing money is part of it, but I dont want to lose money and not gain experience or knowledge and keep making the same mistake over and over if you get me, as long as im progressing and learning then I am happy.

    Not cut thoat but cut in half that doesnt sound good lol might turn me off it all together! :P

    #1163148
    Petemac
    Member
    • Total posts: 171
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi, air freight is my speciality not sea freight but do you have any idea of the total weight and dimension of the carton the samples are being sent in? Is the $205 AUS or US dollars?

    Cheers

    Pete

    Redrum, post: 188669 wrote:
    Hi, I have searched through this forum for a while now, and have been reading all I can on peoples experiences on importing from China, it took me a while to understand the language (I still dont know some of the terminology lol)

    I have been buying my products from a wholesaler in Australia, I have stumbled across their supplier in China and am planning on importing myself (To cut prices in half as well as have new products)

    I have a few questions for the experienced people:

    I have made contact via email with the China supplier, they have offered to do a small order of 75pcs via air freight using DHL, and requested the payment made by TT. They have even offered to inclue two free samples of another product as well in that package. They have charged me $205 air freight via DHL for 75 items which are the same size as a fluorescent light bulb (although not a light).

    This is considered a trial order to view quality of their product, and they will include 2 free samples of another product, via DHL they say it will take 3-5days, the order is considered “small” and im guessing since it is under the $1000 usd for customs.

    After confirming with them that this particular item is in stock ready to go and not needed to be manufactured, they asked me to forward my details in order to prepare a PI or Proforma invoice.

    This is my first time importing, I think I have done the hardest part which is finding a reliable supplier in China (Keep in mind the wholesaler I have in AU buys imports their stock from the same place)

    What procedure do I go through? Hand over my details and receive a proforma invoice? Which to my understanding is a piece of paper saying that I agree to the product quantity and price + shipping, what happens after that? I assume I will receive a commercial invoice once I agree to pay, and I pay after receiving a commercial invoice?

    Also another question, I looked into LCL and FCL, im confident in the procedure for my end of things (paperwork and declaration), for 20cbm they have charged me $625 sea freight. Not sure how good that is, I understand I will be paying for my goods (about $3000 fits in 20cbm), 5% or 10% duty, 10% gst. Are there any hidden costs? I added an extra $500 on top to cover the hidden costs, not sure what they are or what they will be, still learning and researching :) My products wont need to be fumigated, as nothing is wooden etc.

    The reason I ask about LCL and FCL is because it will work out alot cheaper, I would prefer FCL but my budget only allows LCL, I may be getting ahead of myself but I am confident, im one of those people when I start looking into something I have to finish it lol

    Sorry for the huge post, but I like to be as detailed and informative as possible, Thankyou very much, Ads.

    #1163149
    Redrum
    Member
    • Total posts: 10
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Peter, in USD, I will ask the weight, it is being sent via DHL.

    Does it sound a bit high? Thanks in advance

    #1163150
    Petemac
    Member
    • Total posts: 171
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hard to say, without knowing weight and dimesions of parcel. With freight, goods are charged either on actual or dimensionsal (area a parcel will take up on plane) so once you have them I can give you some better feedbaclk.

    Cheers

    Redrum, post: 188761 wrote:
    Hi Peter, in USD, I will ask the weight, it is being sent via DHL.

    Does it sound a bit high? Thanks in advance

    #1163151
    Redrum
    Member
    • Total posts: 10
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thanks, have just asked about the weight and dimension.

    In the past they quoted $135 USD for a parcel with dimensions 67cmx34cmx20cn.

    That was also via DHL.

    I am awaiting reply on the other parcel which I was quoted $205. Thanks Peter.

    #1163152
    MH08
    Member
    • Total posts: 284
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thankyou for the input MH08. How do my prices sound and procedures? the 75pcs first, LCL later? I will need to start writing a huge plan on this, so nothing is left out and everything I learn is easy accessed.

    • The prices won’t matter it will vary from supplier to supplier, what varies, is the company organising the shipment.
    • Planning isn’t grand, it’s just money and how cheap and what’s the best price you can find, what you will need to do it forecast to keep up supply from a foreign supplier which is very important. I’ve dropped suppliers that can’t supply my business and either moved on or bypassed them entirely.

    Wow so alot of stock disappears once it arrives at port?

    • I’ve seen it, if people tell you otherwise there dreaming. Any freight forwarder that own’s their own warehousing will tell you this, the reason is because no one will know something is missing. The invoice or information about the product attached can be adjusted to losses and damages from the forwarder.

    I understand FCL is definately the best method, although to fill a 20″ container would be a fair bit of money, but in the long run may be the safest option?

    • It is an dearer option though to perform importing well, get all the customers onboard, contracts (if possible) and line everybody up. The first time I imported Corona, the container is filled to the roof with 3,400+ cases, I took on 40 customers and they had to wait, 50% dropped off but I new 20 would take at least 2,800 cases. Then I worked harder to find more customers.
    • The more stock you buy the cheaper it is to transport and other operational plus capital expenses can be diluted through all the products.
    • FCL is always safer because no one touches the container unless customs have to specifically open it. But they don’t have to until they come to your warehouse and cut it open.
    • Though the first two or three containers you bring, customs will want to open it at the docks, but make sure your there at the time. They say you can’t do this but threaten them that you want to sight if any damages happen.

    With a FCL i would still need a customs officer to check it in China before it leaves wont I? I never thought of that, and never thought it would cost so much!

    • Generally even if it’s LCL I would, time duration would be cheaper, but FCL, 100% until the I trusted the supplier. There are alot of suitcase companies in foreign countries.

    Is it a common thing that the China manufacturer sends an empty container? So basically you lose your money you paid for the stock, as well as paying for the shipment etc?

    • It happens all the time and you will pay for everything as if it came here full. This also works with using the customs officers from their, because they can sometimes block the front of the container with product and the rest of the container could be empty. Our customs guys just laugh because there’s not legal means unless you fight them on their own ground with proof.

    The China manufacturer is legitimate, as the wholesaler i get my products off uses them, but maybe because someone was checking it to make sure it was there lol.

    What method is safest? Ordering FCL and using a customs officer to check it before it leaves to make sure not empty? And then use a customs officer here to check again?

    • Like I said above, I would until I trusted the supplier. I did it with 10 containers until I trusted my suppliers. It also ensure they don’t screw around.

    Sorry for the questions, you have opened another door for me to look into lol. The manufacturer I chose specializes in a certain product, so putting other types of things may be out of the question unless i can find another supplier as well?

    I guess losing money is part of it, but I dont want to lose money and not gain experience or knowledge and keep making the same mistake over and over if you get me, as long as im progressing and learning then I am happy.

    Not cut thoat but cut in half that doesnt sound good lol might turn me off it all together! :P

    One more thing, I’ve never paid for a container that I haven’t seen. I’ve always utilised these documents with my bank.

    I use a Certificate of Sight and Letter of Credit. I let the container land at my warehouse, we unload it completely and then funds are released at a pre-determined time.

    #1163153
    Johny
    Member
    • Total posts: 840
    Up
    0
    ::

    I have been buying my products from a wholesaler in Australia, I have stumbled across their supplier in China and am planning on importing myself (To cut prices in half as well as have new products)

    Are you sure it is the same supplier? Many goods can be made at a lot of different places so if it is really the same supplier it may make a difference as to how you proceed.

    #1163155
    Redrum
    Member
    • Total posts: 10
    Up
    0
    ::

    MH08 – Thankyou very much for your information, I have read it numerous times so all that info sticks in my head, what do you think my next move is?

    The supplier is willing to send a box of 75pcs of a small item and 2pcs of a larger item im interested in, via air freight DHL, freight is $270 USD and it is 0.165cbm.

    I was thinking of testing by ordering that off them and seeing how organised they are, once I agree to the “sample” order, they will prepare a proforma invoice, which i think is just a confirmation in writing to what i agree on paying for the 75pcs and 2 other pcs?

    Petemac – Hi, havent forgotten about you, the total of the package is 0.165cbm, they havent given me weight as the 2 extra pieces going into the package arent manufactured they say, and cant be weighed.

    Johnny – I understand there a many different suppliers, I am in the middle of looking at it alot more closely just incase, the supplier I now get from which is located in Australia, uses the same item codes as the China supplier, it seems they have just printed the same catalogue and used that, all the Australian supplier has done is add 1 letter to the front of each item. Which is the first letter of their company name.

    I dont know if thats something to go by, what were you thinking in terms of procedure?

    Interested to know what you think.

    Thanks for all the knowledgeable information received, appreciate it!

    #1163156
    Johny
    Member
    • Total posts: 840
    Up
    0
    ::

    “….they will prepare a proforma invoice, which i think is just a confirmation in writing to what i agree on paying for the 75pcs and 2 other pcs?”

    A Proforma Invoice is an important document. Not only does it set out the specifics of what you bought but it is your record in the event of a problem.

    Make sure the details are correct on it.

    Johnny – I understand there a many different suppliers, I am in the middle of looking at it alot more closely just incase, the supplier I now get from which is located in Australia, uses the same item codes as the China supplier, it seems they have just printed the same catalogue and used that, all the Australian supplier has done is add 1 letter to the front of each item. Which is the first letter of their company name.

    Using virtually the same product number is quite usual. I have done it before also. But look at it this way, there may be 1,000 suppliers all getting the same product from a manufacturer. The manufacturer has the starting number and the others either use the same number, a variation, or something different.

    And depending on the product, for small quantities as you are talking about, more often than not, you are not dealing directly with the manufacturer.

    You also need to be aware that, not all those suppliers will stock what they advertise. They may take an order then have to go get that product from either the manufacturer, or somewhere else in the market. So you do run the risk of it not always being readily available.

    So not all suppliers are equal, even if they are selling exactly the same product. Hope that makes some sort of sense, and you need to do some work to verify your supplier regardless of if you feel comfortable with the product.

    While I fully agree with you that you need to do what’s in your best interests and reduce costs where possible, doing this verification is all part of the costs that are incurred by that wholesaler when establishing their suppliers. So there is more to it than just comparing basic unit cost.

    Not telling you what to do, just clarifying.

    And for the record, I pretty much disagree with most of what you have been told about shipping your products. Just don’t have time for another long comment right now.

    #1163157
    Petemac
    Member
    • Total posts: 171
    Up
    0
    ::

    I agree with Johnny on the importance of the invoice that will accompany the shipment. Proforma invoice may not be accepted by Australian Customs which can delay your shipment.

    Your supplier needs to supply a Commercial Invoice with the following information

    Both Sender annd Receiver details
    qty of goods
    full description of goods (not just part/model numbers)
    Value of goods
    HS Code

    Cheers

    Pete

    #1163158
    Redrum
    Member
    • Total posts: 10
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thankyou both for the informative responses.

    Johnny – Before I choose to do a larger order i was going to do the small 75pcs order, they have been upfront with me so far, as with the 75pcs order they only have white in stock, where i wanted half black and half white, they told me it would take 1 week manufacturing time if i wanted to wait for the black.

    I was told they will email a Proforma invoice, then a commercial invoice, and i was able to pay by TT for small orders.

    I also mentioned in future I would get into LCL or FCL and they have mentioned LOC as a form of payment, not too sure if this helps me trust them any more, though they have been honest regarding manufacturing etc, or maybe this is normal for them to say and say it to everyone lol.

    When you say you disagree, do you disagree with what I have been told by the manufacturer or whats been posted to me here? When you have time id like to know why etc, of course only when you you are free.

    Peter – They have said Proforma invoice will be followed by a commercial invoice, the 75cs order will be under the $1000 USD, so a declaration isnt needed as far as I know, this order was for me to “check quality”. This will be my next step, I am hoping to make that order in the next week or so.

    Im very grateful for all the information that is being offered to me, Im a pretty quick learner when I want to learn lol

    So far I think I am doing ok with the understanding etc, I know having a FCL wont be happening very soon, but I am hoping to do LCL or at least orders over $1000USD via air freight.

    Thanks again for the time and effort put into the responses, it means alot.

    #1163159
    Petemac
    Member
    • Total posts: 171
    Up
    0
    ::

    A Commercial invoice is required for all shipments into Australia as Customs uses this to decide on tax/duties. Even though the value is under $1000, Customs still needs the invoice to verify it. If they don’t feel the price on the invoice is the true value I have known them in the past to ask the receiver to provide proof of payment ie bank transfer to show it matches the invoice.

    Have a look at the link below

    http://www.cargosupport.gov.au/documents/Verificationofimporttransactionsusingcommercialdocuments.pdf

    Cheers

    Redrum, post: 189091 wrote:
    Thankyou both for the informative responses.

    Johnny – Before I choose to do a larger order i was going to do the small 75pcs order, they have been upfront with me so far, as with the 75pcs order they only have white in stock, where i wanted half black and half white, they told me it would take 1 week manufacturing time if i wanted to wait for the black.

    I was told they will email a Proforma invoice, then a commercial invoice, and i was able to pay by TT for small orders.

    I also mentioned in future I would get into LCL or FCL and they have mentioned LOC as a form of payment, not too sure if this helps me trust them any more, though they have been honest regarding manufacturing etc, or maybe this is normal for them to say and say it to everyone lol.

    When you say you disagree, do you disagree with what I have been told by the manufacturer or whats been posted to me here? When you have time id like to know why etc, of course only when you you are free.

    Peter – They have said Proforma invoice will be followed by a commercial invoice, the 75cs order will be under the $1000 USD, so a declaration isnt needed as far as I know, this order was for me to “check quality”. This will be my next step, I am hoping to make that order in the next week or so.

    Im very grateful for all the information that is being offered to me, Im a pretty quick learner when I want to learn lol

    So far I think I am doing ok with the understanding etc, I know having a FCL wont be happening very soon, but I am hoping to do LCL or at least orders over $1000USD via air freight.

    Thanks again for the time and effort put into the responses, it means alot.

    #1163160
    Johny
    Member
    • Total posts: 840
    Up
    0
    ::

    Johnny – Before I choose to do a larger order i was going to do the small 75pcs order, they have been upfront with me so far, as with the 75pcs order they only have white in stock, where i wanted half black and half white, they told me it would take 1 week manufacturing time if i wanted to wait for the black.

    I was told they will email a Proforma invoice, then a commercial invoice, and i was able to pay by TT for small orders.

    I also mentioned in future I would get into LCL or FCL and they have mentioned LOC as a form of payment, not too sure if this helps me trust them any more, though they have been honest regarding manufacturing etc, or maybe this is normal for them to say and say it to everyone lol.

    I can’t make a comment about this particular supplier. But what I will say is that one of the most important things I have learnt over the years, especially the most recent years, is that you really can’t rely on what people say to you.

    The proof of whether they are genuine or not is in what they do, not what they say. That’s not just in relation to suppliers in China, but I encounter this everywhere, Australia included.

    For example, as a general comment, and without knowing the product you are talking about, for the majority of products, a factory just doesn’t make 40 pcs of a product (half of your 75 pcs) just to suit one small order. Its not worth their while to tie up a production line for that quantity.

    But as I said, and I want to stress, my comment is only general. It also doesn’t mean your supplier is not real, but it may mean they are just buying some time to get the product you want.

    As for the LCL/FCL comment, you are wasting your time with that one. Everyone who makes a deal says they will be buying larger quantities in future. Some do, some don’t, but most suppliers just brush that one aside. If it happens then you start the relationship, if it doesn’t then it is not unexpected.

    Am I cynical? You bet. Over time I have saved a lot of money that way.

    For a small initial order like yours, there is a point where doing a lot of checks just makes the cost of buying the products too expensive. So to a certain extent there is some reliance on gut instinct.

    If the products aren’t the type where you can be scammed easily or you have at least some confidence in the supplier, it should be OK. If you want to provide me the details privately about the supplier/product, happy to give you my thoughts about it. Up to you.

    Buying stuff from China doesn’t have to be hard, and its not all bad despite almost everything you hear as being negative. I do it for a living, and I ain’t that smart.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.